Alumna Valerie Garcia Houts, MBA 99, Named Top Financial Advisor Under 40


Alumna Valerie Garcia Houts, MBA 99, an international financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, was recently recognized in the third annual "Top 40 Advisors Under 40" list compiled by On Wall Street magazine.
On Wall Street, a national publication serving the retail brokers and financial services industry, compiles the list using quantitative data solicited from the advisors’ employers. 
Houts, 38, of San Francisco, and her Merrill Lynch partner Thomas Hutson-Wiley, 35, placed 10th on the list, with $918 million in assets in their clients' accounts. The pair are part of a team of five partners who provide brokerage services to a client base of knowledgeable investors – venture capitalists and private equity investors. That means there is little hand-holding, even during the financial meltdown, On Wall Street noted.
"Our clients truly believe opportunity comes from times like these," Houts told On Wall Street. "For [the clients], last October wasn't the first bump in the road." Many of their clients lived through the dot-com debacle early in the decade, but rose again to thrive. Because of that experience, Houts notes, they are able to view the difficulties with issues such as raising cash and market losses as a glitch more than other investors do.
Houts has worked at Merrill Lynch since 2002. Previously, she worked at regional banks Robertson Stephens and Montgomery Securities, while she earned her Berkeley MBA in the Haas School's evening program.
"For those entering the field of finance, there is a tremendous opportunity to serve clients on the individual as well as on the institutional level," Houts says. "It is a challenging time, as we know, but there are many ways that we can help our individual clients really prepare for their future. We are an incredibly entrepreneurial industry and country."